I Samuel 25:1-42 David, Nabal, And Abigail.

I Samuel 25:1-42 David, Nabal, And Abigail.

The people lamented for Samuel upon his death, the man they refused to heed when he was living. As David travelled he rightfully assumed to be treated well by Nabal, since his own servants testified to how David had protected them, and were basically model neighbours. Instead, Nabal was arrogant, a man who no doubt gained and maintained his wealth because he ingratiated himself to Saul. Abigail, his wife, had more sense than he did. She was a woman of faith who confessed the LORD’s selection of David as his true anointed.

Abigail sent to David and his men interim provisions, a small payment for how they treated and protected her husband’s servants. Furthermore, she followed after to also plead for mercy despite her husband, whose name means rightly meant ‘fool’. She, like David, left vengeance to the LORD. All she did was bear true witness to her husband, and this was enough for him to go into a coma and die. David ended up marrying Abigail, now a widow, and thanked God that through her he was prevented from dropping to his and Saul’s level.

I Samuel 23 Providence, Prayer, And The Word.

I Samuel 23 Providence, Prayer, And The Word.

Even while David was in exile, he was serving the LORD and King Saul in seeking the LORD in prayer as to whether he should take the battle to the Philistines who were fighting against Keilah. However, Saul presumed upon God’s providence in believing that David’s presence in Keilah was the LORD delivering him into his hand. Throughout this conflict between David and Saul we see to important truths converging. David and Saul both believed in God’s sovereign control of history, and that the LORD often in his good providence acts on behalf of his people. However, David still prayed. The mere occurrence of certain events and circumstances was not enough for David, he wanted the LORD’s interpretation of the events, whereas Saul presumed and read into these events what he wanted to see and ascribed this interpretation to God.

Not only did David pray, but he also sought out the minister of the word and sacrament in Abiathar the priest, the only one to survive the earlier massacre of Saul, and one who because he wore the linen ephod covenantally represented the entire nation before the LORD. David looked beyond himself. Sometimes we cannot even trust our own prayers. We often need godly counsel from those who know the word in order to have the wisdom we need to make tough decisions. Canada’s founding fathers sought such wisdom, but our history since is littered, like much of the western world, with humanistic narcissists who pride themselves on their own conception of our destiny. The people of Keilah are all too common in history – they rejected the LORD who had rescued them for the supposed long term security of statists like Saul.

I Samuel 24 Saul Caught With His Pants Down.

I Samuel 24 Saul Caught With His Pants Down.

Saul is in pursuit of David to murder him and he walks into the very cave where David and his men were hiding. While Saul was taking a crap David cuts off a corner of his robe to show that if he wanted to, he could have killed Saul. In the end David left vengeance up to the LORD. “Therefore may the LORD be judge between you and me” (v. 15). David respected the office that Saul occupied but not necessarily the person in it. He knew Saul for the reprobate that he was. Saul asks David to swear that he would not cut off his descendants, but David was already in covenant with Jonathan, so even this request was narcissistic.

I Samuel 22 Collateral Damage – Saul’s Vengeance.

I Samuel 22 Collateral Damage – Saul’s Vengeance.

David had been anointed as king, but here he was hiding in a cave from Saul, along with “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented. So he became captain over them.” (v. 2). From a human standpoint, not exactly a comfortable situation. After a stay in Moab, the prophet Gad told him to go to the land of Judah, so he went to the forest of Hereth. Saul was still intent on murdering David, and of all his servants only Doeg the Edomite came forward to tell Saul where he had seen David.

Here we see the history of the ungodly seed of Edom or Esau, continuing to conspire against the godly seed of promise. When Saul discovers that Ahimelech the priest at Nob had assisted David, Saul had Doeg murder him and 84 other priests with him, when his servants refused to do so. He also massacred every living thing in the city of Nob. Abiathar, one of Ahimelech’s sons escaped, and when he told David what had happened David acknowledged that letting the Edomite go back to Saul was likely to result in at least the death of Ahimelech’s house (v. 22).

I Samuel 21 David Bears True Covenantal Witness.

I Samuel 21 David Bears True Covenantal Witness.

David is in hiding from Saul, and to this end he lies to Ahimelech the priest at Nob in telling him that he was actually on the king’s business so that he might receive some bread, and the sword he took from Goliath. It was time for the showbread to be changed anyway, which in David’s mind returned the bread to a common use. David might have thought he needed a sword since one of Saul’s servants was also in town. On his way to Achish, king of Gath, David also learned that the king supposed that he was coming against him for war, so David also deceived him in behaving like a madman. As with Rahab and Michal, there is a place for lying and deception when it in fact involves bearing true covenantal witness. Jesus justified David’s actions in this example (Mt. 12:4; Mk. 2:25-26).

I Samuel 20 The Covenant Between David And Jonathan Is Extended To Include Their Houses.

I Samuel 20 The Covenant Between David And Jonathan Is Extended To Include Their Houses.

Clearly Jonathan had a more optimistic view of his father than David did (vv. 1-2). On oath David told Jon that his father would keep the knowledge of his murderous intent from him (v. 3). To this end David had a test, to which Jon agreed to cooperate with him on. The long and short was that they confirmed that it was again the intent of Saul to murder David, to which Jon acknowledged the LORD God of the covenant as witness (vv. 4-13, 18-32, 42). Jonathan’s only condition was that David continue to show favour to his family in spite of his father (vv. 14-15). Thus the covenant between David and Jonathan now extended to the latter’s family (vv. 16-17, 42). Jon appears to have finally got the message when his own father tried to impale him with a spear (v. 33).

I Samuel 19 David, Saul, Michal, Samuel, And The Spirit.

I Samuel 19 David, Saul, Michal, Samuel, And The Spirit.

Saul commanded his son and servants to kill David (v. 1). Was Saul justifying this as not being first degree pre-meditated murder because he was the king, and perhaps like David later with the Uriah was leaving open the possibility of continuing to try and get rid of David in battle (II Sam. 11)? He should have known by this time where Jonathan’s loyalty lay, as he warned David to hide in a secret place (v. 2). Once again Jon has to play the diplomat and discuss the matter with his father, seeking to pull him back from such evil (v. 3). Jon reminds him that David has always been his servant, has not sinned against him, and that his works up to that point have been nothing but good (v. 4). He risked his life in taking down Goliath, and Jon reminded his father that he himself rejoiced at this victory (v. 5a).

One could go on and point out that Saul promised his daughter to any man who would defeat Goliath, and that when he reneged on his word, David fulfilled a second condition, namely the taking of the foreskins of 100 Philistines, when David took 200. Long before this he surely could not forget that he pulled David away from his father in order to have him play the harp when a distressing spirit came upon him. The wicked soon forget the good deeds of the righteous, and thus they presume upon the mercy and patience of their God. Jon stated the bottom line to his father – like an advocate in a court of law. “Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without cause.” (v. 5b) In these words Jonathan was telling his father that no one was above the law, including the king.

Once again Saul changes his mind about having David murdered, and the latter returns to stand in Saul’s court (vv. 6-7). Also, once again, David was victorious over the Philistines (v. 8). But also once again “the distressing spirit” from the LORD came upon Saul (v. 9), and he again tries to kill David with a spear, but David escapes (v. 10). Again, Saul sends his servants out to murder David, but this time it is Michal that saves David by lying to her father twice (vv. 11-17). David took refuge with Samuel, which was finally told to Saul (vv. 18-19). However, when messengers were sent to him and Samuel, the Spirit came upon them so that they prophesied, no doubt with something that included not killing David, for even Saul prophesied when he made the trip (vv. 20-24)!

I Samuel 18:17-30 David’s Rise, Michal, And Saul’s Failures.

I Samuel 18:17-30 David’s Rise, Michal, And Saul’s Failures.

Saul had committed to giving his daughter to whoever defeated Goliath, whom one would assume would be his oldest Merab. It should not be assumed that daughters did not have a choice in the matter. David is humbled, but Saul breaks the engagement and gives Merab to another. They may have conspired together. In any case, Saul’s word could not be trusted. In acknowledging David’s victory Saul had no intention of simply honouring his word, rather he wanted to elevate David in the eyes of the Philistines that they might seek his death all the more (vv. 17-19).

We are not told here whether Saul also reneged on giving David riches or exempting his house from paying taxes. Today if one were granted the latter the former would be assured! It almost seems by contrast with Merab, that we are told that Michal, another of Saul’s daughters, loved David (v. 20a). However, clearly Saul only believed that Michal agreed to marry David, because Saul thought that in his daughter he had a mole, one who might be a snare to David, that the Philistines may be against him all the more.

Again, here we read of another double witness to Saul’s bearing of false witness, in that he states a second time to David that he would be his father-in-law when once should have been enough (vv. 20b-21). To ensure that he would have a supposed mole in Michal, Saul continued to conspire to assuage any misgivings that David might have, and to take advantage of the desire on David’s part to marry Michal Saul adds yet another condition besides the defeat of Goliath – no dowry but one hundred Philistines foreskins (vv. 22-25).

David complied with Saul’s condition by doubling the number of foreskins to two hundred (vv. 26-27). Saul had no choice but to give Michal to David in marriage. Saul was thus doubly defeated in his scheming. He had to acknowledge that the LORD was with David in his battles with the Philistines, and that Michal loved him (v. 28). For these reasons Saul was afraid of David so that he was more of an enemy than a trusted soldier. Nevertheless, when the Philistines rose up against the Israelites “David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.” (v. 30)

I Samuel 18:1-16 Covenant Friendship And A Parting Of Ways.

I Samuel 18:1-16 Covenant Friendship And A Parting Of Ways.

Normally a king’s son would follow in succession, but Jonathan more than accepted David as his father’s successor, he made a covenant with David to show their commitment to each other. Jonathan also gave his prince’s robe and armour, “even to his sword and his bow and his belt” (v 4). David had proven himself to Saul who made him his right hand man and the commander of his military forces, a position accepted by all the people, including Saul’s servants (v. 5). However, Saul was one who did not fully accept David, for Saul was very angry when the women danced and shouted, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousand.” (v. 7). Where the women sang ‘and’, Saul heard ‘but’. It was from this point forward that Saul saw the threat that David posed to his hold on the kingdom (vv. 8-9).

Once more God sends a distressing spirit to Saul, but it says that he prophesied, which would suggest that the distressing spirit was none other than the Holy Spirit. Whatever Saul prophesied we know it would be true, and probably apropos for the occasion. Could it be that he prophesied the transfer of the kingdom to David? In any case, David’s playing of music did not calm Saul as before, rather Saul threw his spear at him trying to kill him. From this point forward, the enmity is Saul’s heart evidenced itself in David being banned from his presence, but only after David had escaped him twice, a double witness of the LORD’s providential protection. David was demoted to being simply a captain over a thousand (v. 13). However, Saul acknowledged that David behaved wisely in all his ways which made him afraid, but the people loved David (vv. 14-16).

I Samuel 17 David And Goliath.

I Samuel 17 David And Goliath.

The people of God faced a valley of decision, a battle they could not escape. Either they would finally be victorious or the Philistines would (vv. 1-3). The Philistines thought that if they could make it a fight between two representative persons that they could spare everyone the messiness of an all out war. The plan had some merit, but the man they sent to represent them was a giant among giants. From outward appearances Israel didn’t measure up. The challenge of Goliath made everyone, including Saul, afraid, except David. Forty days is symbolic for a time of testing, and this is what Goliath had given to Israel for them to answer (vv. 4-16).

David was sent by his father Jesse with supplies in support of the troops, and to bring back news to his father. David ensured that the sheep were cared for and he then obeyed his father and went. When he arrived he left the supplies with the supply keeper and went to the front line to greet his brothers. Unlike the others, David did not flee fear the uncircumcised Philistine. The adjective reveals that David believed that their covenant making and covenant keeping LORD would give them the victory (vv. 17-27). However, Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, objected, no doubt still resentful of David being anointed as the new king.

Eliab supposed that David was behaving irresponsibly by leaving the sheep and running off, not knowing that he made arrangements for their care, and the supplies, while he obeyed the voice of his father. Furthermore, Eliab presumed to know David’s motives and his heart, something known only to God, and a reason why David was chosen above his brothers (v. 28). David was asking an honest question, which after forty days had not been answered – who was going to fight Goliath? David volunteers, and when Saul inquires as to what experience David had, David referred back the victories the LORD had given him over other beats, a lion and a bear (vv. 28-37).

Saul heard enough and proceeded to outfit David with his own armour, but David was accustomed to his own weapons, what had given him his victories before (vv. 38-39). The appearance of the boy David offended Goliath. He thought that the Israelites were mocking him. Little did he know that a single stone would crush his head and issue in their defeat. David had faith and a message he wanted all to hear. The LORD would deliver Goliath into David’s hand, and “then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword or spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands” (v. 47).

One stone, strategically fired, was enough to put the giant down, and David used Goliath’s own sword to cut off his head (vv. 48-51a). The Philistines had no intention of becoming slaves, so they fled (v. 52b). Israel pursued them and drove them from the land and plundered their possessions on their return (v. 53). David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem to Saul, and his armour he took to his own tent (v. 54). David had proved that faith in their covenant making and covenant keeping God would bring them victory without compromise, but David had to remind Saul that he was Jesse’s son (v. 58).